EPiServer CMS on Microsoft Azure Web Sites

One of the CMS that I’ve been working these days is EPiServer CMS developed in ASP.NET MVC and web Forms that offers many facilities to its development and implementation, including support Microsoft Azure.
In this post I will show you the steps needed to deploy it on Azure Web sites.

Install EPiServer CMS Visual Studio Extension

The first step is to install EPiServer CMS Visual Studio extension from TOOLS > Extensions and updates…

Extensions and Updates

Looking for EPiServer in the search box and install it:

EPiServer CMS Visual Studio Extension

Create an EPiServer Web site project

The previous action required to reboot Visual Studio to use the new EPiServer templates. To create a new project we select New Project > EPiServer

Create a EPiServer Web Site project

In the next dialog box select the template that you want to use. This post will be used Alloy (MVC) which contains a sample site that will help us verify the CMS in Azure Web Sites.

EPiServer Alloy MVC template

Configure a new source and install EPiServer.Azure package

For a cloud solution of EPiServer on Azure Web Sites you must install the package EPiServer.Azure from Nuget. Before doing this is necessary to add a new source (http://nuget.episerver.com/feed/packages.svc) for EPiServer packages:

NuGet Package Sources

PM> Install-Package EPiServer.Azure

What services I need from Microsoft Azure services?

To work with EPiServer CMS you need a site in Azure Web sites, a database in SQL Database, a storage account in Azure Storage and messaging system in Service Bus. All can be created from https://manage.windowsazure.com/ using the NEW button from the bottom menu.

Within the web.config file we add the following code in the episerver.framework section, which will refer to our Storage and Service Bus accounts:

<blob defaultProvider="azureblobs">
    <add name="azureblobs" type="EPiServer.Azure.Blobs.AzureBlobProvider,EPiServer.Azure"
          connectionStringName="EPiServerAzureBlobs" container="mysitemedia"/>
<event defaultProvider="azureevents">
    <add name="azureevents" type="EPiServer.Azure.Events.AzureEventProvider,EPiServer.Azure"
          connectionStringName="EPiServerAzureEvents" topic="MySiteEvents"/>

episerver.framework section

Connection strings in the CONFIGURE section on Azure Web sites

Once we have created services within the platform, we must add the connection strings for each configuration within the website. We have two options: modify the web.config file or use the CONFIGURE section in Azure Websites on theAzure portal:

EPiServer connection strings

Connection strings that we use must be as key EPiServerDB (SQL Azure Database), EPiServerAzureBlobs (Azure Storage) EPiServerAzureEvents (Azure Service Bus). You can also add connection strings directly in the web.config file, but it would need to play with the changes in the file for the correct connections depending on the environment:

  <add name="EPiServerDB" connectionString="Data Source=tcp:YOUR_SERVER.database.windows.net,1433;Initial Catalog=episerverdatabase;User Id=YOUR_USER@YOUR_SERVER;Password=YOUR_PASSWORD;Connection Timeout=60;Integrated Security=True;MultipleActiveResultSets=True;" providerName="System.Data.SqlClient" />
  <add name="EPiServerAzureBlobs" connectionString="DefaultEndpointsProtocol=https;AccountName=YOUR_ACCOUNT_NAME;AccountKey=YOUR_ACCOUNT_KEY"/>
  <add name="EPiServerAzureEvents" connectionString="Endpoint=sb://YOUR_ACCOUNT_NAME.servicebus.windows.net/;SharedAccessKeyName=RootManageSharedAccessKey;SharedAccessKey=YOUR_ACCOUNT_KEY"/>

Deploy the solution on Microsoft Azure Web sites

The last step we must do is to deploy the solution to Azure Web sites. To do this right click on the project and select Publish…:

EPiServerSiteDemo Publish...

Select the website that we have created during the process and, the only value that must change is select the Update database checkbox and select the connection string that points to SQL Azure Database:

EPiServer update database

We click on the Configure database updates option, remove the check from [Auto schema update] and add the script located in the packages folder > EPiServer.CMS.Core.7.15.0 > tools called EPiServer.CMS.Core.sql (this script should only be used in the first deployment).

EPiServer CMS Configure database updates

Publish the solution and confirm the site works correctly.

EPiServer Alloy template on Azure Web sites

If It’s necessary make new deployments on the same web sites, you must select the Remove additional files at destination and unckeck Update database :

EPiServer new deployments

Hope this helps,